Decision to shut restaurants, bars in Maharashtra final nail in coffin: Hospitality industry

Hospitality Industry insiders said the decision to close down restaurants and bars in Maharashtra and allow only takeaway and home delivery services would be a ‘final nail in the coffin’ for businesses.

“With this decision, as far as our industry is concerned, the state government has driven in the last nail into the coffin. The industry which generates employment and is the source of income for lakhs, cannot survive this time as we cannot pay staff salaries, licence fees and meet operational expenses with mere home delivery and takeaways,” said Shivanand Shetty, president, Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association (AHAR).

“We fail to understand why the hotel and restaurant industry is targeted everytime, when there is no empirical evidence to prove that Covid is emanating from the above mentioned places, or it is rampantly spreading only during the evening,” he added.

Restaurants, which were already following the night curfew guidelines and were shutting at 8 pm previously are expected to operate only for deliveries in the state till April 30. According to the state government, all restaurants and bars are to remain closed except for those in ‘integral’ parts of hotels. Deliveries will be allowed from 7 am to 8 pm from Monday to Friday. Restaurants and bars in hotels will be open only for inhouse guests and outsiders won’t be allowed.

“There will be no hospitality industry if the government does not reciprocate. We are doomed this time around if we are expected to be both, shut for business and not receive any relief. The government has to meet us somewhere in between. Shut us, but do justice to the owners, staff and their families. Take care of the salaries. Unburden the owners of the property tax, waive off the statutory fees, don’t generate electricity and water bills until the industry becomes completely operational again,”said Pradeep Shetty, senior vice president, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI).

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The Maharashtra government on Sunday announced a weekend lockdown in the state from 8 pm on Friday to 7 am on Monday in a bid to curb the surging Covid-19 cases in the state.

Minority Affairs Minister and NCP leader Nawab Malik said after the cabinet meeting that apart from the weekend lockdown, strict restrictions will be in force from Monday 8 pm onwards.

He said that the night curfew will continue and prohibitory orders issued under section 144 will be forced during the day time during the week.

“Apart from the weekend lockdown, strict restrictions will be in force from 8 pm tomorrow, under which shopping malls, bars, restaurants, small shops will be open only for take-aways and parcels. Government offices will be allowed to function only at 50% of their capacity,” he said.



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